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No one’s talking about peace in Israeli election, U.S. liberal Zionists are warned

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Liberal Zionists in the U.S. shouldn’t get their hopes up about any peace camp emerging from the next Israeli elections. Peace talks are not even being discussed in the campaign; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s message about Palestinians, “Be very afraid,” continues to resonate with the Israeli Jewish public. The ruling Israeli coalition is likely to be just as rightwing as the last one, and even if liberal Zionist savior Isaac Herzog of Labor becomes prime minister, he isn’t likely to push for negotiations with Palestinians.

This was the message from two liberal Israeli experts who spoke about the upcoming elections to liberal Zionist groups in the U.S. in the last ten days. One was Mikhael Manekin of the Israeli thinktank Molad, speaking to J Street by phone. The other was Gershom Gorenberg, speaking to the New Israel Fund, at a private home in New York last Sunday night, an event I paid to attend.

Manekin said there are three likely outcomes of the election. “The safest bet is actually a pretty frustrating one:” a governing coalition of Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud Party and the ultra-orthodox. The second most likely outcome is a “unity government” coalition of Netanyahu and Labor with Netanyahu as Prime Minister and Herzog as a minister. Leaders on both sides have ruled this out; and Manekin said it would be very hard for liberal Labor members to accept such a situation. Third, and “least plausible,” is a coalition led by Zionist Camp, the center-left combination of Labor and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua Party that would “pull in all the [Palestinian] minorities, by consent or as part of the coalition,” with a lot of small parties. Manekin said this is the least stable combination; such a government won’t survive for a year and a half.

Will any of these coalitions even try to make peace with Palestinians? “Most Israelis have no reason at this point to think about the occupation more than they think about the price of housing,” Manekin said. With no international pressure on Israel to make peace, only a government led by progressive forces would even undertake a push for peace, Manekin said, and that is unlikely to come out of this election. Even if a progressive government takes power, that doesn’t mean it would push for negotiations.

Manekin said the unending settlements project has come up in this election, as opposed to the 2013 elections, inasmuch as centrist Yesh Atid, representing middle class voters, has described settlement supporters “as a special interest group” who make demands on the public till. “One can talk about settlements and one can tall about occupations, albeit in a roundabout way.”

At the event last Sunday night in NY, author and historian Gorenberg declined to make predictions. But he was often dire in his pronouncements.

Everyone in Israel suffers from “Bibi fatigue,” he said. From the Kulanu Party to the Zionist Camp to Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home, everyone wants to replace Netanyahu, but most of them support Netanyahu’s message re the outside world: “Be very afraid.”

It’s not good politics, but it is legitimate and we should not reject the fact that  most of us as Jews are post traumatic, and it’s very easy to be afraid. It may not be an accurate description of the political situation, but it’s certainly something that resonates.

Gorenberg described the millions of Palestinians with no votes and no rights under occupation as the “brontosaurus in the room” for Israel, but “curiously [the issue of peace negotiations] has remained sort of in the background” in the election. The only one who voices a need for a two-state solution is Tzipi Livni. One reason the last government fell—and it was the second shortest government in the history of Israel, he pointed out– is that Livni took on coalition partner Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home party on the issue a year ago. When he said that Israel has to fight international efforts to delegitimize Israel, Livni suggested an ad for Bennett’s vision of Israel: In South Africa blacks were second class citizens. Here they’re not even citizens!

If polls are right and there is a victory of the right, Gorenberg said, this will mean “further erosion of democracy” in Israel, postponement of negotiations even as the country’s international situation gets worse, and more strained relations with the United States. We will see “a wider gap between the liberal majority of American Jews and Israel,” and greater cognitive dissonance for those Jews when they see a rightwing country. They’ll ask: “How could a Jewish country do this?”

None of these issues would disappear with a Labor led government, but at least that government would offer the “possibility of a way out,” Gorenberg said.

His strongest words were for American Jews. On the one hand it is illiberal of Jews to believe that a Jewish country “should have been liberal.” The whole point of Israel was to allow Jews to “have a normal country.” So you have people on the left and right, racists and anti-racists.

But he called on liberal American Jews to speak up about the “the damage caused to Israel and to American Jewry” by the link forged by Netanyahu with one political party in the U.S., the Republican Party. Gorenberg said he dreamed that leading American Jews or better, Jewish organizations, would sign a letter in an Israeli newspaper saying, “‘We as American Jews oppose the identification of Israel with one political party in the United States’. I’m not expecting it but I sure would like to see it.”

“You can decide what form your support for Israel will take,” Gorenberg said to the Jews in the audience. “You do not have the option of not taking a stance. Existentially, this option has been eliminated for you.” Because Jewish organizations already claim to speak for you.

He did not address Jews who have responded to the situation by declaring their opposition to Zionism, and their refusal to support Israel.

Speaking of cognitive dissonance, both Gorenberg and Manekin made clear how much support there was for the Gaza war in the Israeli electorate. Gorenberg said sharply that he opposed the war but was also an “opponent of the ease with which people outside Israel judged Israel during the war.” It was a “very complicated” situation, he said; and it’s a mistake to say that Israelis were crazy to support the war. While Manekin said that the left has to find a language of security to appeal to the Israeli public. A third of the country was “not able to function” for two months during the Gaza conflict, he said, and the left has to find a way to address people’s concerns about that. Not a word about Palestinian slaughter. Though Manekin said that no society confronts human rights issues in elections.

Both men said that the new unified list of Arab-backed parties presents a challenge to the Israeli system. Gorenberg pointed out that when about 11 Knesset members from these parties are unavailable to participate in forming a governing coalition, that coalition has to come up with a supermajority of 61 out of 109 seats. And why aren’t Palestinian-backed parties in the ruling coalitions? That is the “elephant in the room,” Gorenberg said. Arab-backed parties have been included only once, in Yitzhak Rabin’s second term. (I have long compared the electoral situation in Israel to the U.S. in 1964, when the Mississippi Freedom Democrats, which included black people’s votes, demanded to be seated at the Democratic Party’s nominating convention.)

P.S. Read Al Jazeera’s excellent interview with Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of Knesset, describing the hardening rightwing discourse in Israeli Jewish politics and the lack of any difference between Labor and Likud in policies on the ground.

I’d also note that Gorenberg’s description of Jews as Post-Traumatic is just what Alice Rothchild said at Hunter College last week and that Roger Cohen is saying in his new book, The Girl From Human Street. I am not that way, and in fact I believe others have a right to express impatience with this Jewish understanding of ourselves (it’s not politically realistic, as Gorenberg concedes); but I do believe my attitude is aberrational inside my generation and older ones.

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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68 Responses

  1. marc b.
    marc b.
    February 13, 2015, 1:13 pm

    most of us as Jews are post traumatic

    huh?

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      February 13, 2015, 5:05 pm

      Psychobabble employed to cover up the deliberate policies of the Zionist movement.
      “The Nazis made us do it!” – the coming post-Zionist explanation from the likes of Gorenberg.

      He continues:

      If polls are right and there is a victory of the right, Gorenberg said, this will mean “further erosion of democracy” in Israel

      1. Israel has always been an ethnocracy and not a democracy, from day one.

      2. Need we remind these “liberal” Zionists that Labor was the party that has initiated ethnic cleansings – the Nakba and the 67 cleansing – and not Likud? Labor initiated the settlements, not Likud.

      Why does nobody ever challenge these people on their own delusions?

      • Whizdom
        Whizdom
        February 14, 2015, 2:22 am

        Gorenberg’s “Accidental Empire” seems to be well done history of the Occupation, from the perspective of an Israeli, but good scholarship as far as I can judge.

      • Krauss
        Krauss
        February 15, 2015, 6:23 am

        Whizdom, then you have rose-tainted glasses, and I’m using kids gloves on you now. Gorenberg’s an apologist for his nation’s crimes.

        We see the same thing in America or the UK, where people claim that America never really wanted to take the lands from the native Americans but due to a “perfect storm of circumstances”… and so on. Ditto the British apologists for Imperialism, claiming that the Brits were motivated primarily by European rivalry and not domination and then the machiniery just kept going by itself.

        Right.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 16, 2015, 10:54 am

        “Whizdom, then you have rose-tainted glasses”

        Whizdom will take them off, and look the situation square in the face.
        It might take a bit of time, but he will.

        As the Pips most famously told Gladys Knight: “I know you will!”

  2. Mooser
    Mooser
    February 13, 2015, 1:27 pm

    “huh?”

    You’d be surprised what people can accomplish when they set out to cultivate something. They can make the desert bloom.

    • marc b.
      marc b.
      February 13, 2015, 5:14 pm

      Eli Roth is my favorite example. Raised in one of the safest, ‘whitest’ towns in the world, he (and his psychiatrist father) attributes his fascination with ultra violence and gore, to his upbringing and immersion in the history of the holocaust.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 13, 2015, 5:34 pm

        See, there’s no telling what you can’t do with yourself if you try!

  3. Mooser
    Mooser
    February 13, 2015, 1:37 pm

    “You can decide what form your support for Israel will take,” Gorenberg said to the Jews in the audience. “You do not have the option of not taking a stance. Existentially, this option has been eliminated for you.”

    “Existentially this option has been eliminated for you”? Wow, he’s got some stupid ideas about what the existential consists of, don’t he?

    • MRW
      MRW
      February 13, 2015, 1:59 pm

      @Mooser,

      He’s been drinking the Ghettorade.

      • nettee
        nettee
        February 13, 2015, 2:49 pm

        ‘Ghettorade’

        can I steal this?-priceless!

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 13, 2015, 5:47 pm

        I have a much higher opinion of the existential options of the Jews in America. When they finally feel that Zionism is limiting their “existential” options, they will know what to do about it.

      • MRW
        MRW
        February 14, 2015, 4:09 pm

        Gorenberg, like Netanyahu, has ghettoized worldwide Jewry, although only Netanyahu says he speaks for all Jews whether you like it or not.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 16, 2015, 10:59 am

        MRW, whenever somebody says they “speak for all Jews” a little voice always whispers to me: “Trefa banquet”.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        February 16, 2015, 12:01 pm

        Mooser,

        “MRW, whenever somebody says they “speak for all Jews” a little voice always whispers to me: “Trefa banquet”.”

        But one sees many high-profile Jews making this claim all the time — to be speaking for “the Jews” or “the Jewish people” — starting at the top of the Jewish establishment with Benjamin Netanyahu and including many Commentary Magazine neoconservatives.

        Why do they do it?

        I can’t remember ever hearing an American claim to speak for “the Irish people” or “the English people” — the attitude and language would be too bizarre and bombastic to contemplate.

        I am as curious as ever about what factors — psychological, cultural or otherwise — drive this behavior.

        During the 1930s, Nazis claimed to speak for “the German people” and Italian Fascists claimed to speak for “the Italian people” — those are the historical precedents that come to mind. During that era, many Germans and Italians were in the grip of mystical, messianic and militant ethnic collectivism.

        Many Americans — especially Christian evangelicals — have been persuaded by an endless stream of propaganda that Benjamin Netanyahu is in fact speaking for “the Jewish people.” It is going to be extremely difficult to undo this belief.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      February 13, 2015, 5:41 pm

      “You do not have the option of not taking a stance. Existentially, this option has been eliminated for you.”

      Gosh, one more favior Zionism has done us! I mean, when you have fewer options, the world is less confusing. Thanks, pal! I always wanted to be stuck in an existential trap like that, and I could’na done it without you!

      God, the pretense! The “existentially eliminated options”!

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 13, 2015, 7:17 pm

        Mooser, the facticity of existentially eliminated options enables you to realise your freedom to interpret them in good faith, and recognize the absurdity of Being with its underlying Nothingness. Through the Angst and Sorge they generate, you can rescue yourself from inauthenticity by accepting Dasein as being-towards-death, and choose an authentic life in the World of Others you have fallen into.

      • straightline
        straightline
        February 15, 2015, 4:40 am

        Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar who could drink you under the table.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 15, 2015, 11:27 am

        RoHa, you can say that again! I sure couldn’t, most of those words make my lips tired to read.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 15, 2015, 9:27 pm

        Nothing about the Sartre twins, Jean and her brother Paul, in the song.

        Mention here, though.

        (Annie, the song is here. I used to play it to my first year students to encourage them to take further courses.)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 16, 2015, 11:02 am

        And always remember to put the Plato back in the cave after play-time! If you leave him out over-night he hardens.

  4. eljay
    eljay
    February 13, 2015, 1:41 pm

    At the event last Sunday night in NY, author and historian Gorenberg declined to make predictions. But he was often dire in his pronouncements.

    Everyone in Israel suffers from “Bibi fatigue,” he said. …

    The Palestinians suffer from “Zio-supremacist fatigue”. Not surprising, given that Zio-supremacists have been f*cking them over for 60+ years.

    It’s not good politics, but it is legitimate and we should not reject the fact that most of us as Jews are post traumatic, and it’s very easy to be afraid. …

    Just imagine how the Palestinians must feel: For over 60 years and with impunity, “post traumatic Jews” have been stealing, occupying and colonizing Palestinian land and oppressing, torturing and killing Palestinians.

    But none of that seems to matter when the goal is Jewish supremacism in a supremacist “Jewish State”.

  5. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    February 13, 2015, 1:57 pm

    “Gorenberg described the millions of Palestinians with no votes and no rights under occupation as the “brontosaurus in the room” for Israel”

    How about you call them the INDIGENOUS people of Israel/Palestine?

  6. Pixel
    Pixel
    February 13, 2015, 2:31 pm

    “most of us as Jews are post traumatic”

    uh, yeah, while ALL Palestinians are “CURRENT traumatic”

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      February 13, 2015, 9:37 pm

      The excuses come easily, and are always acceptable by their supporters. Strange those who are post traumatic, make sure those under their powers and guns, keep being currently traumatic.
      These should have been a people who made sure no one ever suffers the way they did, and been a champion for human rights. But then, their greedy hearts and evil minds, cannot resist those lands and taking over the water.

  7. Pixel
    Pixel
    February 13, 2015, 2:33 pm

    “the New Israel Fund, at a private home in New York last Sunday night, an event I paid to attend.”

    Geez, I hope they gave you some snacks.

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      February 13, 2015, 5:18 pm

      I never cease to be amazed by Phil’s committment to his readers. He’s paying to listen to a bunch of pathetic whining by liberal Zionists, who don’t care a fig’s leaf about Palestinians?

      Give the man sainthood already. (And yes, he should have gotten somekind of compensation for exposing his mind to idiocy).

      • annie
        annie
        February 14, 2015, 2:34 pm

        saint phil. i’ll have to remember to tell him that in case he misses this comment. ;)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 15, 2015, 11:31 am

        “(And yes, he should have gotten somekind of compensation for exposing his mind to idiocy).”

        Give Phil his due credit. As we have seen over and over, if Zionists can’t get at your mind, they go for the next best thing. I think there’s a great deal of raw physical courage in what he does.
        And an almost Bhuddist self-control, too. Which is funny because….

  8. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    February 13, 2015, 3:41 pm

    Great post, Phil. I would suggest much of the fatigue comes from Netanyahu’s continuous and escalating fear-mongering that tends to shut down rational thought with kill-or-be-killed instinctive hormones, and, by nature, can only last so long before rest is required. Deep stupor of the immediate post-trauma.

    I discount the view that, just because no one is talking about peace NOW, the election won’t mean anything. What they say today doesn’t mean someone to Netanyahu’s left who takes over won’t very shortly find himself leading everyone toward peace, since only that will solve the BDS problem, which is rapidly escalating.

    Netanyahu has his lunatic hand on the tiller of the initiative, which he keeps driving with maniacal focus on getting re-elected, killing any Iran deal, and escalating the clash of civilizations. Once someone else takes the tiller, it will be a whole new era. Managing the conflict with ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollar, al Queda, etc. will be a lot easier if realists were tamping down the blowback fires that magnify their appeal, rather than deliberately fanning those flames.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      February 13, 2015, 5:55 pm

      Where are the moderate Israelis? Well, it’s nice to hear that question asked for a change.
      But hasn’t Israel built their entire society education, military, religion, social, economic around the occupation and the Greater Israel idea? So many things would have to change. But you never know, a moderate or liberal PM could meet with as much success as, say, Rabin.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        February 13, 2015, 9:40 pm

        The bottom line is, there are NO moderate or liberal candidates in Israel.. They are ALL extremely right wing, and conservative, with war on their minds. It would be refreshing to hear ONE candidate say they want desperately to make peace with the Palestinians, and that they prefer two states with people living side by side but then he/she knows they will never win the elections, as it seems the people are also extremely right wing, and conservative. No hope ever.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        February 13, 2015, 9:48 pm

        Ethno-religious nationalist movements are by definition extremely right-wing — I can’t think of any historical exceptions. What is happening is that the liberal/left-wing veneer in Israeli politics is being stripped away — exposed, basically, as a public relations stunt.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 14, 2015, 11:34 am

        Israel can no more “make a deal” that a man who has jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge can make a deal with gravity if he changes his mind halfway down.

        But naturally, since Jewish history has been nothing but a steady upward climb, it’s very very hard for us to envision any kind of disaster or consequences. Hasn’t anybody been paying attention to history? We make the consequences, the consequences never make us.

        You know, if Liberal Zionists are still convinced the “we can say it was all a joke, and start over” existential option is open to them, they are hopeless

      • David Doppler
        David Doppler
        February 14, 2015, 4:20 pm

        Yes, Rabin, like Lincoln, got assassinated. Like all of the Israeli candidates today trying insincerely to sound just as tough as Netanyahu, Lincoln ran on a platform of protecting the institution of slavery, of enforcing slaveowners rights to have their runaway slaves returned from free states. He re-iterated his vows in this respect in his first inaugural address, even as southern states were seceding. It wasn’t until more than two years of Civil War later, after twin July 4 victories in Gettysburg and Vicksburg, that he revoked that vow and replaced it with the Emancipation Proclamation.

        Lincoln didn’t die in vain, nor did the Americans who fought and died on both sides, as America performed un-anesthetized surgery on itself to rid its body of the cancer of slavery.

        Netanyahu believes the Americans are easily moved. Perhaps another Israeli leader will look to America’s history for lessons in building a successful nation. Perhaps Rabin didn’t die in vain, either.

        The Israelis need to decide if they are a constitutional democratic republic, like America and the rest of the West, or a religious state, “a kingdom or whatever we decide to call it” [per Bennett] like Iran and ISIS. They can only be one or the other. They cannot be one while pretending to be the other [they might fool themselves trying].

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 15, 2015, 11:35 am

        “The Israelis need to decide….”

        Ah yes, that chronic Zionist-Israeli indecisiveness! Maybe they don’t need to decide, David. After all, why can’t they have it both ways?

  9. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    February 13, 2015, 3:56 pm

    RE: “Liberal Zionists in the U.S. shouldn’t get their hopes up about any peace camp emerging from the next Israeli elections.” ~ Weiss

    SEE: “The death of the Israeli left”, By Gideon Levy, MiddleEastEye.net, 4 February 2015
    Life is too good here and the people are too brainwashed. The left is clinically dead, and Israelis have no incentive to end the occupation

    [EXCERPT] The Israeli left, if it has ever existed at all, is dead. The Israeli Peace Camp, the preferred way to designate the left in the Israeli context, breathed its last breath about 15 years ago and has never been resurrected. Two main factors led to its demise back then, but even in their combination, they should have been insufficient in bringing on the clinical death that ensued.

    First was the failure of the US-mediated Camp David talks between Israel and the Palestinians, concluding with the notion that “there’s no Palestinian partner,” a canard made popular by Israel’s prime minister at the time, Ehud Barak.

    The other factor was the outbreak of the second Intifada – the suicide bombers exploding buses on Israeli streets and instilling a new and unprecedented level of fear. The first factor ended all hope on the Israeli left, and the second produced intense despair, and this mix gave rise to ever more widespread apathy, indifference and ignorance.

    Israeli mass media enlisted in the campaign to brainwash, stupefy, repress and befog, voluntarily promoting Israeli propaganda while offering its audience trivialities and entertainment until the occupation dropped entirely off Israel’s political agenda. Peace was no longer an objective or even a dream. Israel believed itself chaste and was living in denial.

    The fact that the Israeli peace camp could shatter so easily gives rise to serious, troubling questions, including: how real and how steadfast was it to begin with, if this sequence of events was enough to pulverise it almost completely?

    Israel’s political map shifted far to the right following these tectonic events: the right wing’s extreme nationalism and blatant racism became legitimate. What until not long ago was considered the moderate right wing is today the centre, and what was the centre morphed into “the left” or even “the extreme left”.

    On the periphery of this political landscape a few authentic leftist and peace groups still operate, but they are isolated on the margins and lack legitimacy. Courageous, steadfast groups like B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Rabbis for Human Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, Machsom Watch, Anarchists Against the Wall, Ta’ayush and even Peace Now have no real influence on the political map in Israel and face a systematic campaign of delegitimisation.

    Virtually no protest is heard in the public squares of Israel’s cities. While in 1982, 400,000 Israelis marched in protest against the Sabra and Shatila massacres in Lebanon, although those atrocities were not perpetrated directly by Israel itself; if today, heaven forfend, another such massacre were to occur, a demonstration with even 400 people would be very unlikely and protesters who did show up would probably be violently dispersed by the police.

    In the outgoing Knesset, there’s not a single member (MK), and certainly not a Jewish MK, whose first priority is the struggle to end the occupation. None of the Jewish parties puts this issue at the top of its agenda, with the possible exception of Meretz, which has become a small faction without real influence. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/death-israeli-left-1587085604

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson
      February 13, 2015, 4:01 pm

      RE: “Israeli mass media enlisted in the campaign to brainwash, stupefy, repress and befog, voluntarily promoting Israeli propaganda while offering its audience trivialities and entertainment until the occupation dropped entirely off Israel’s political agenda.” ~ Gideon Levy (from above)

      URI AVNERY ON THE SORRY STATE OF THE ISRAELI MEDIA/PRESS, AND HOW THE ISRAELIS HAVE BEEN “BRAINWASHED”:
      “Israel’s Weird Elections”, by Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 1/04/13:

      [EXCERPTS] . . . The Israeli media are already to a large extent neutralized, a creeping process not unsimilar to what the Germans used to call Gleichschaltung. [SEE: Gleichschaltung @ Wikipedia – J.L.D. ]
      All three TV channels are more or less bankrupt and dependent on government handouts. Their editors are practically government appointees. The printed press is also teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, except the largest “news” paper, which belongs to Sheldon Adelson and is a Netanyahu propaganda sheet, distributed gratis.
      [Naftali] Bennett repeats the ridiculous assertion that almost all journalists are left-wingers (meaning traitors.) He promises to put an end to this intolerable situation. . .
      . . . In the coming four years, the official annexation of the West Bank to Israel may become a fact. . .
      . . . If the government continues on its present course, this will lead to certain disaster – the entire country between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River will become one unit under Israeli rule. This Greater Israel will contain an Arab majority and a shrinking Jewish minority, turning it inevitably into an apartheid state, plagued by a permanent civil war and shunned by the world.
      If pressure from without and within eventually compels the government to grant civil rights to the Arab majority, the country will turn into an Arab state. 134 years of Zionist endeavor will come to naught, a repetition of the Crusaders’ kingdom.
      This is so obvious, so inevitable, that one needs an iron will not to think about it. It seems that all major parties in these elections have this will. Speaking about peace, they believe, is poison. Giving back the West Bank and East Jerusalem for peace? God forbid even thinking about it.
      The weird fact is that this week two respected polls – independent of each other – came to the same conclusion: the great majority of Israeli voters favors the “two-state solution”
      , the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and the partition of Jerusalem. This majority includes the majority of Likud voters, and even about half of Bennett’s adherents.
      How come? The explanation lies in the next question: How many voters believe that this solution is possible? The answer: almost nobody. Over dozens of years, Israelis have been brainwashed into believing that “the Arabs” don’t want peace. If they say they do, they are lying.
      If peace is impossible, why think about it? Why even mention it in the election campaign? Why not go back 44 years to Golda Meir’s days and pretend that the Palestinians don’t exist? (“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people…It is not as though there was a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away. They did not exist.” – Golda Meir, June 13, 1969) . . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/01/04/israels-weird-elections/

  10. JeffB
    JeffB
    February 13, 2015, 4:45 pm

    @Phil

    Both men said that the new unified list of Arab-backed parties presents a challenge to the Israeli system. Gorenberg pointed out that when about 11 Knesset members from these parties are unavailable to participate in forming a governing coalition, that coalition has to come up with a supermajority of 61 out of 109 seats. And why aren’t Palestinian-backed parties in the ruling coalitions? That is the “elephant in the room,” Gorenberg said. Arab-backed parties have been included only once, in Yitzhak Rabin’s second term. (I have long compared the electoral situation in Israel to the U.S. in 1964, when the Mississippi Freedom Democrats, which included black people’s votes, demanded to be seated at the Democratic Party’s nominating convention.)

    FWIW it is generally true that the Arab parties are being excluded from coalition bargaining that’s not the case for this term (i.e. the 2015 elections). The Unified Arab coalition is a coalition of Communists, Nationalist and Islamists. That sort of coalition doesn’t exist anywhere else in the Arab world. No one is quite sure what to do, this is new ground. There are going to be ferocious complex negotiations in just figuring out how to respond to initiatives in the knesset as the opposition. The Arab parties this time around no that their unity couldn’t survive being part of the government regardless of the makeup of the government. They don’t want to be seated and have said so openly. So sorry but you can’t blame the Jews’ moral failing for not having the Arabs in coalition this Knesset.

    What I suspect (and this they haven’t said) is Israeli Arabs are looking for is to be the negotiating partner to represent Palestinian interests in a post Fatah world, i.e. become the PLO version 4.0. Israeli Arabs have been under tremendous pressure as their have been multiple and conflicting “resistance” policies between the Israeli-Arabs, Gaza, West Bank and the Palestinians outside Israel being squeezed in an increasingly violent way between Al Qaeda factions especially ISIL and Iranian interests especially Assad’s army. The Israeli Arabs are the Palestinian faction whom the Israelis get along with best. They have the most credibility with the public and possible could reboot negotiations. FWIW I think that would be a very good thing for both peoples.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      February 14, 2015, 11:41 am

      “@Phil”

      “JeffyB” although it is considered polite to begin any missive or epistle with a salutation, and indicate who the letter is to, in your case it’s really just another indication of you modesty and lack of conceit. I’m sure Phil and the entire staff studies every freakin’ word of your comments!
      Haven’t you noticed that your narrative is having an undeniable effect on them, as they adjust Mondo to agree with it?

      Why, they should send you some kind of gift, or at least acknowledge your intellectual contribution.
      But I don’t think you will get them to eat the eggs.

    • NickJOCW
      NickJOCW
      February 15, 2015, 4:45 am

      JeffB, Hanin Zoabi addresses this issue in the RT interview linked by Phil above. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/02/qa-hanin-zoabi-israel-bad-arab-150202072900248.html

      Zoabi: The three main political streams have come together in the United Arab Party. No one has given up their ideology or political platforms. Nationalists in Balad still believe in a state for all of its citizens. The communists still believe in two nation states [for Jews and Arabs] as a solution, which we [in Balad] disagree with. The Islamists still do not believe in gender equality.

      We are facing the hardest right-wing political campaign in Israel’s history. The micro-level strategic differences are not the most important issues right now. The situation on the ground is that Israel is confiscating land and demolishing homes; Palestinians are enduring violence and poverty; and Arab Knesset members and political activists are being persecuted.

      In a dire situation we all come together whatever our otherwise differences.

  11. surewin
    surewin
    February 13, 2015, 5:14 pm

    There have been some reports, perhaps unconfirmed, that as much as a third of the society in Gaza was not able to function for two months during the conflict last summer.

    – – –

    Post-traumatic can be pre-traumatic, as in always expecting more trauma. It might be that the essence of Jewish culture for centuries has been both post-traumatic and pre-traumatic. Pre-traumatic stress disorder can be self-fulfilling. Younger Jews, especially in the U.S., are now a lot less post-traumatic and hence pre-traumatic. At some point they might be in a position to decide that the thing to do is to settle the conflict and chill. Of course there will be the leftover post- and pre-traumatic Jews, given the realities of cultural transmission. But the majority who are already over it will urge the traumatic leftovers simply to get treatment, to find a way to normalize their brain function, relax, be human, and enjoy life.

    – – –

    After Clinton was elected, which of course came right after the GHW Bush-James Baker days, the neoconservatives, as it were, took the Democratic Party for granted and moved to get control of the Republican Party. Beginning in 2006, the Democrats and a subset of the Republicans began together to isolate and purge the neocons. The process is still underway. In the 1990s, without realizing what the consequences would be, and with great hubris and arrogance, the neocons voluntarily walked out onto a limb. For the last eight years, the establishment coalition has been sawing at the base of the limb. As the breaking point approaches, the risks will escalate, but we can hope that the deed will be done and that we will all survive. My letter in an Israeli newspaper will say that I wholeheartedly support the identification of Israel with one political party in the United States, namely the Republican Party.

  12. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    February 13, 2015, 5:26 pm

    RE: “It’s not good politics, but it is legitimate and we should not reject the fact that most of us as Jews are post traumatic, and it’s very easy to be afraid.” ~ Gorenberg

    THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: Can it be “anti-Semitic” to apply a double, but lower, standard to Israel? In other words, can it be “anti-Semitic” to cut Israelis some extra slack because they have been traumatized by the Holocaust?

    SEE: “Gunter the Terrible”, By Uri Avnery, The Palestine Chronicle, 4/13/12

    [EXCERPT] Stop me if I have told you this joke before:
    Somewhere in the US, a demonstration takes place. The police arrive and beat the protesters mercilessly.
    “Don’t hit me,” someone shouts, “I am an anti-communist!”
    “I couldn’t give a damn what kind of a communist you are!” a policeman answers as he raises his baton.
    The first time I told this joke was when a German group visited the Knesset and met with German-born members, including me.
    They went out of their way to praise Israel, lauding everything we had been doing, condemning every bit of criticism, however harmless it might be. It became downright embarrassing
    , since some of us in the Knesset were very critical of our government’s policy in the occupied territories.
    For me, this extreme kind of pro-Semitism is just disguised anti-Semitism. Both have a basic belief in common: that Jews – and therefore Israel – are something apart, not to be measured by the standards applied to everybody else. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.palestinechronicle.com/gunter-the-terrible/#.UpTfHMSsh8E

  13. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    February 13, 2015, 6:28 pm

    War of Ideas in the Middle East

    becomes

    War of Ideas and Somatic States in the Middle East

    Walk back the fear level and the naked racism level, ramp up the mutual-respect-and-empathy-as-fellow-human-beings level, replace “kill-or-be-killed” with “let’s make a deal,” and a deal can be done.

    Where the US has been complicit, and should unambiguously now rectify and atone, is to assert clearly that the Clean-Break and Project-for-a-New-American-Century trajectory is OVER, and severe consequences to Israel for trying to stay on that path, while “fooling” and manipulating and “easily moving the Americans” into helping with that strategy, as the settlements expand away, and the hapless Palestinians are blamed for their victimhood, are now starting to flow. BDS, Dershowitz in jail, Neocon talking head opportunities terminated, end of US foreign aid, charges in the ICC, no more UN vetoes, etc.

    Get a peace deal fast and let’s all start making money in the new peaceful Middle East.

    Netanyahu the scapegoat sent off alone into the wilderness to atone for all of Israel’s sins.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      February 13, 2015, 6:47 pm

      “Walk back the fear level and the naked racism level, ramp up the mutual-respect-and-empathy-as-fellow-human-beings level, replace “kill-or-be-killed” with “let’s make a deal,” and a deal can be done”

      I see. So all of what Zionism has done, the way they got Jews to Palestine, what the Zionists did once they got there, and how they have been acting since the day Israel was declared, was simply a pretense, and act, a schtick (We’ll “mad-dog” ’em!) which can be quickly replaced by another? (“Okay guys, time to be nice! One, two: “Shalom, shalom, you’ll find Shalom, the nicest greeting you know…)

      So, do you think the “fear level and naked racism” and the “kill-or-be-killed” ethos will be as hard to walk back as it was to develop? Or just as easy?
      But I take your point, everything in Israel is under control, and adjustments, even radical ones, can easily be made. Perhaps they can. I get the feeling they are somewhat out of control of themselves.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        February 13, 2015, 7:16 pm

        Mooser,

        To clarify: when you refer here to “the Zionists” — and to Ziocaine Syndrome in 119 other comments on MW — are you suggesting that all Zionists are suffering from Ziocaine Syndrome?

        What is Ziocaine Syndrome in your mind? — what are its essential features? Are they primarily cultural, psychological or something else? The term “syndrome” is usually employed to describe psychological disorders or conditions.

        What are the root causes of Ziocaine Syndrome?

        I just wrote elsewhere:

        BEGIN COMMENT
        I’ve argued many times in the past that *all* messianic ethno-religious nationalist movments from all cultural traditions are based on the same psychological archetypes and drivers — it’s a universal phenomenon, not limited to any particular ethnic group.

        My assumption is that Mooser is referring to those universal psychological archetypes and drivers when he discusses Ziocaine Syndrome (and all the Zionists who present signs of this syndrome) — and notice that non-Jewish Christian Zionists are subject to this condition in much greater numbers than Jews.
        END COMMENT

        But that is just my opinion — your take on this may be different.

        Regarding the 119 comments: http://mondoweiss.net/profile/mooser?keyword=ziocaine+syndrome

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 14, 2015, 11:48 am

        Sean, I’ve said it many, many times, you simply don’t listen. Try and learn it this time, okay?

        “Early observers were convinced by the bizarre behavior of Zionists amd their supporters that a chemical or hereditary etiology was involved. Further research indicated that the Ziocaine Syndrome has a purely behavioral origin. Those who insisted on a genetic or hereditary origin were proved wrong when the reports of Ziocaine Syndrome-by-Proxy” were confirmed”

        Okay? Got that? Good.

        “I just wrote elsewhere”

        And stop talking about me behind my back, you creep. Or I will start talking about your predilections, Father.

      • Philemon
        Philemon
        February 14, 2015, 7:43 pm

        Sean, there’s a book called “Political Ponerology” that might interest you.

      • Philemon
        Philemon
        February 14, 2015, 7:50 pm

        Really, I mean it. It’s what happened in the Soviet Union in its early years.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        February 14, 2015, 9:39 pm

        Philemon,

        “Sean, there’s a book called “Political Ponerology” that might interest you.”

        Good pointer —

        Political Ponerology (A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes) by Andrew M. Lobaczewski http://www.amazon.com/Political-Ponerology-Science-Adjusted-Purposes/dp/1897244258

        77 5-star reviews, including this endorsement from Ilan Pappe:

        “This is an extraordinary book.” –Ilan Pappe, author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

        Summary:

        “In the early parts of the book, the author gives an overview on the root cause of macro-social evil: the small percentage of psycho-pathological deviants who nevertheless have a disproportionally large influence on the minds of normal humans. Due to the lack of psychological knowledge among normal humans, these deviants easily infiltrate social groups, movements, etc.. When the society is in a sufficiently hysterical state, the psychological deviants that are always present can transform the entire society into its worst form: a pathocracy. The most notable examples of that are the Roman empire and Nazi Germany.”

      • annie
        annie
        February 15, 2015, 12:17 pm

        sounds interesting.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 16, 2015, 11:09 am

        “My assumption is that Mooser is referring to those universal psychological archetypes and drivers when he discusses Ziocaine Syndrome”

        Sean, I’m sure you know what people say about those who ” assume ” so I won’t repeat it.

      • Philemon
        Philemon
        February 17, 2015, 7:01 pm

        Annie, it’s all the more interesting if you read it after Mission to Tashkent.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      February 13, 2015, 6:54 pm

      “Get a peace deal fast and let’s all start making money in the new peaceful Middle East.”

      Yeah, real fast, while the Palestinians have nothing to bargain with? Now that’s be a “deal”!

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 14, 2015, 11:54 am

        “Let’s make a deal”

        Sorry, sorry, I probably just missed the irony. I can be pretty slow to catch on.

  14. just
    just
    February 13, 2015, 7:31 pm

    If they’re not talking about it, I guess that mean that they don’t want it and neither does the electorate.

    How freaking depressing and predictable. Time for us to take the $$$$$$$, the veto, and the war machine away from the kidz.

    Impose sanctions, enforce international law, and get the IAEA in there.

  15. American
    American
    February 13, 2015, 7:37 pm

    ” most of us as Jews are post traumatic”

    Well if thats the only problem why not weaponize marijuana and crop dust Israel with it.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      February 14, 2015, 11:53 am

      “weaponize marijuana”

      ROTFLMSJMSAO!!!! American, that was very, very funny, I love it!

    • Philemon
      Philemon
      February 14, 2015, 7:20 pm

      And hey, it might actually work!

      Until they got the munchies, that is. Good-bye olives. Also, they might get a bit paranoid that the Palestinians were laughing at them…

      What do you mean how do I know? I went to college!

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 16, 2015, 11:15 am

        “weaponize marijuana”

        It might be happening as we speak! A lot of pot smokers are always talking about ‘shotguns’.

  16. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    Maximus Decimus Meridius
    February 14, 2015, 6:41 am

    ” A third of the country was “not able to function” for two months during the Gaza conflict”

    Stop it. Please. You’re breaking my heart. So Yossi had to cancel his beach barbeque and miss the Costa Rica vs Holland penalty shoot out? Oh, the trauma!

    And here’s the thing: ALL of Palestine – not just Gaza – is unable to function. And not just for 2 months, but ALL the time. Israelis really haven’t got a clue. If they had to live one day in Gaza, they’d begin to understand what trauma really is. But they are so protected by their Zio-bubble of narcissism that they genuinely believe they are the victims.

  17. just
    just
    February 14, 2015, 8:53 am

    “2:37 P.M. Maj. Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant vows to win next Gaza war

    Maj. Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant, a Knesset candidate on the Kulanu ticket, vowed that if he has his way Israel will be victorious in the next Gaza war.

    “A war must be won,” he said at a forum in Rishon Lezion. “I can’t live with a tie. With me, the next battle in Gaza will be much shorter and will yield better results. Hamas isn’t the Red Army, contrary to what you were told.” (Jonathan Lis)

    12:36 P.M. Lieberman: Arab Knesset members’ sole ideology seeks Israel’s destruction

    …Lieberman accused the Netanyahu government of indecision. “We fought Operation Protective Edge for 50 days … but the result is that Hamas continues to fire [rockets] … If it were up to me they wouldn’t have left the bunkers after 50 days – they would have remained buried underground.”

    He also accused the Arab Knesset members of “having no ideology other than to destroy Israel.” (Shirley Seidler)”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel-election-2015/1.642451

    You’re right, nobody is talking peace. Israel doesn’t ‘do’ peace; it would appear that Israelis don’t want peace.

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick
      February 14, 2015, 9:01 pm

      “Hamas isn’t the Red Army, contrary to what you were told.” (Jonathan Lis)

      Oh, my dear God! If that’s the case then why didn’t you “finish” the job? Hmmm?

      I’ll tell you why, because your precious heroes don’t know what to do when they have grown men and women shooting back at them. Their only experiences of “war” are arresting 14 year old girls or shooting ten year olds in the back. Cowards.

  18. JeffB
    JeffB
    February 14, 2015, 12:15 pm

    @kay24

    The bottom line is, there are NO moderate or liberal candidates in Israel.. They are ALL extremely right wing, and conservative, with war on their minds. It would be refreshing to hear ONE candidate say they want desperately to make peace with the Palestinians, and that they prefer two states with people living side by side but then he/she knows they will never win the elections, as it seems the people are also extremely right wing, and conservative. No hope ever.

    Well then I can make you happy.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dov_Khenin
    is almost certain to win a seat in the 2015 Knesset.

    He supports the June 1967 lines. Israel’s capital in West Jerusalem only with a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. Total non military intervention in each other’s affairs. Full civil equality in both countries for all people …

    One doesn’t have to support the destruction of Israel to stand for full equality.

  19. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    February 14, 2015, 2:08 pm

    Herzog to Netanyahu: You failed to cripple Hamas
    International-Ynetnews-Feb 8, 2015

    OK, so nice liberal Herzog is blaming Netanyahu for failing to attack Gaza enough?

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones
      February 15, 2015, 12:50 am

      Rival MK: Unlike Netanyahu, Herzog will have courage to attack Iran
      International-i24news-22 hours ago

  20. Rusty Pipes
    Rusty Pipes
    February 14, 2015, 6:14 pm

    Phil, if you’d bothered to take Max Blumenthal along, it would have been a much more interesting event.

  21. piotr
    piotr
    February 14, 2015, 7:12 pm

    But he [Gorenberg] called on liberal American Jews to speak up about the “the damage caused to Israel and to American Jewry” by the link forged by Netanyahu with one political party in the U.S., the Republican Party. ”

    It is hard for me to tell what is good and what is bad for Israel (perhaps they could use some adversarial relationship with U.S.A., at least I really think so), but how would link forged by Netanyahu with one political party damage “American Jewry” in any way? Would it affect incomes, marriage prospects, job opportunities? Would it be hard for an individual Jew to evade collective responsibility, or we would see scenes of carnage like columns of Jewish refugees from Upper West Side trekking to find reach Republican-friendly Staten Island?
    (check the first 40 second https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUcatuRLLXs to imagine how that would look like).

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